Ok where should I start; I’m 24 and I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis less than 3 months ago. I have always lived a healthy life (I’m actually a dietitian): regular exercise and a healthy diet (no processed food) and cooked most things from scratch, oh and no family history of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns. Ok so far so good -well not quite!
During the last 5 years or so I have had ‘vague’ bowel issues; unexplained urgency, being bloated, softer than usual stools, occasionally going to the toilet more often, and during the past year passing blood. I ignored all of these issues and attributed them to irritable bowel or whatever (although the symptoms did not occur with stress) -until I saw the ‘blood’.
At first I ignored the blood too and thought well maybe it’s hemorrhoids; however the blood continued to resurface despite using hemorrhoidal creams and not straining etc. Then I had a really bad bout of diarrhea and i was going to the toilet 4-8 times a day. Which I thought was due to changing hormones as I had just gotten pregnant at the time!
I went to the gastro doctor and she concurred it was most likely hemorrhoids and the diarrhea was most likely due to hormonal changes. The diarrhea resolved on its own in less than a month, and i had a good pregnancy and i was able to eat pretty much anything I wanted; for the first time in years. In retrospect that must have been due to the anti-inflammatory effects of increased cortisol levels in the body during pregnancy.
I carried on the rest of my pregnancy and made the most of being able to eat whatever i wanted -I could eat ice cream and not get diarrhea, and eat legumes without doubling over in pain the next day…etc (keep in mind that up to this point i thought that I was just ‘sensitive’ to these foods so i had previously eliminated them from my diet).
Then I gave birth and it all went on a downward spiral from there. After giving birth I started having increased bowel motions which i ignored because i was too busy with my baby and the new life and role as a mother. I did not return to my previous ‘healthy’ diet i was following before birth because again i was too busy.
Things continued to get worse and i started to have really bad cramps and diarrhea which landed me in hospital for dehydration. After an agonizing hospital stay and numerous tests and procedures I was diagnosed. And after the diagnosis i had to endure a course of prednisone which resulted in sleepless nights, anxiety and depression. As difficult and seemingly never-ending as those days were; i will not go into detail about them here because i want this story to be a positive one.
And here is the positive part: I’m now ‘almost’ in remission; my body is still tired and exhausted and achey and i do occasionally get the cramping and diarrhea but overall i would say i’m progressing towards remission.
How did i do it? First i have to credit God’s help and the strength he has given me during this very difficult time without which i would have broken down a long time ago. There is also the diet that i have been on all these years and did not realize how important it was for keeping the Colitis in check until i went back on it (the medications doctors give you on their own do not get you in remission -from my experience anyway) .
The diet is called the Low FODMAP Diet -it is absolutely wonderful at managing UC during flares and to keep you in remission. It is much less restrictive than the much publicised SCDiet. Also, the Low FODMAP Diet is actually scientifically validated, based on research, and written by a Dietitian in consultation with Gastroenterologists.
I have also began taking probiotics, and Manuka honey (1-2 tsp a day) and eating 1-2 cups a day of leafy salad vegetables (low fodmap vegies) to give me the fiber I need to help keep my intestines ‘moisturize’. And recently i have started having a pinch of seasalt before and after every meal as this is reported to actually help the digestion and absorption of food in the muslim religion.
So that’s what I did to help bring my UC in remission. Everyone’s story maybe different but I just wanted to share what worked for me because i know there are people out there who are searching for answers -especially the newly diagnosed UC’ers. And i know all the information out there can be very confusing. I also know that SCDiet, which probably is the only thing out there with a good backup of ‘anecdotal’ evidence that it works, is very difficult to follow. I would say try the Low Fodmap Diet, and if it doesn’t work for you then try the SCD Diet.
Good luck to all and God bless!